Navigation Links
Acid-wielding worms drill through bones at the bottom of the sea
Date:7/2/2012

Tiny 'bone-devouring worms', known to both eat and inhabit dead whale skeletons and other bones on the sea floor, have a unique ability to release bone-melting acid, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego have recently discovered. The work is being presented at the Society for Experimental Biology's 2012 meeting in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr Sigrid Katz, a postdoctoral researcher working with Greg Rouse and Martin Tresguerres, said: "These worms are unique in using bone as a habitat and nutrient source. We have learned a lot about these worms in the past 10 years, but one of the most intriguing questions has been how they penetrate bone and take up nutrients."

The worms, whose official genus name is Osedax, are up to 3-4 cm long and were discovered on a whale carcass in 2002. They come from a family of worms living in unexpected locations, with their relatives inhabiting the extremely hot and acidic hydrothermal vents in the sea.

Like all worms in their family, Osedax have no mouth, anus, or gut. Their digestion of the nutritious bone is made possible by their partnership with bacteria.

While it had been clear that the worms and their bacteria rely on nutrients such as collagen or fat from the bones they inhabit, until now it was a mystery how the worms penetrated the bones and access their nutrients. Their bodies consist of a worm-like portion and 'roots' that house the bacteria and penetrate the bones, but they have no body parts mechanically able to drill through bone.

The researchers looked instead for signs of a chemical drilling strategy, testing for the presence of acid-secreting enzymes in different tissues of the worm. One of the enzymes, a proton pump, was abundant in the roots, the part of the worm that penetrates the bone. The results indicate that the worm secretes acid to demineralize the bones.

As Katz explained, "The discovery of Osedax shows that nutrition is even more diverse than we imagined, and our results are a step further in understanding the special relationship between the worm and its bacteria."

The findings of this study pertain to the females only. The males never grow beyond their larval size (about 1 mm) and they live inside the gelatinous tube that surrounds each female. Each female will have hundreds of males living in her tube.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catie Lichten
leitac@gmail.com
44-777-279-5646
Society for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Polycrystalline diamond drill bits open up options for geothermal energy
2. Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations
3. Breakthroughs in Chikungunya research from A*STAR spell new hope for better treatment and protection
4. Study demonstrates cells can acquire new functions through transcriptional regulatory network
5. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
6. Beating famine: Sustainable food security through land regeneration in a changing climate
7. Interventional radiology: Potential breakthrough to treat mens enlarged prostate
8. Glycemic index foods at breakfast can control blood sugar throughout the day
9. GSA North-Central Section Meeting: Change through Time
10. WanderID Launches Breakthrough ID Product for Children, Seniors
11. Discovered a new checkpoint of cell cycle control through joint action of 2 proteins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Acid-wielding worms drill through bones at the bottom of the sea
(Date:2/8/2016)... 8, 2016 Worldcore ... presents innovation for clients, comfort and unbeatable security, ... --> Worldcore is the first ... clients, comfort and unbeatable security, with a Voice ... Worldcore is the first EU-regulated global ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant Solutions ... Police Department in Missouri solved ... plate reader (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. ... case in which the victim was walking out of a convenience store and ... space next to his vehicle, striking his vehicle and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of ... of the digital and computed radiography markets in ... and Indonesia (TIM). It provides ... size, as well as regional market drivers and restraints. ... market penetration and market attractiveness, both for digital and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... York (PRWEB) , ... February ... ... (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, ... for infectious diseases and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) a leading ... , Allergan,s CEO and President, will be featured as ... the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February ... York Palace Hotel in New York, NY ... can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web site ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... states, announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the ... Medicine, Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... LATHAM, NEW YORK... ... the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February ... the same venue. , These latest InGaAs PIN diode standard packages feature a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: